GOP Leaders Are Preparing to Submit to Donald Trump

Some Republican National Committee members say they’re starting to accept Trump will be their nominee.

Mel Evans/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Following Donald Trump’s overwhelming victory last week in his home state of New York and his impressive sweep across five East Coast states on Tuesday, Republican Party leaders may be finally reaching the final stage of Trump grief: acceptance that the real estate mogul is likely to be their presidential nominee. Some GOP insiders are even coming to terms with the distinct possibility that the primary race may not reach an open convention and that Trump may well bag the necessary 1,237 delegates to win the nomination, according to two Republican National Committee members.

This recognition began to sink in last week at the RNC’s spring meeting in Hollywood, Florida, where the committee’s 168 members convened to discuss party business. Trump’s resounding New York victory earlier that week “kind of shocked everyone into reality” and “had an enormous effect at the RNC meeting,” says one longtime RNC member, who asked to remain anonymous. “All of a sudden people started accepting the fact, either happily or regretfully depending on who you are, that there seems to be a clear movement here. So that helped Trump in Hollywood, Florida, at the meeting. People were much more open to him then, in my opinion.”

Trump’s triumph in all five states in Tuesday’s contests—he handily won Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—improves his chances of clinching the nomination before the national convention in July. It also put Sen. Ted Cruz in the position where it is now impossible for him to win a majority of delegates by the end of the primaries.

“There is a growing acceptance of the probability that Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee,” says Randy Evans, an RNC member from Georgia and a former Newt Gingrich backer who attended last week’s gathering. He notes that Trump’s dominant performance in the recent primaries is causing some RNC members to conclude that Trump will be the party’s nominee: “For some it is an eager acceptance to get the process over and move on; for others it is a reluctant acceptance of the inevitable.” Within RNC circles, it seems at this point, there is no consensus in favor of a major convention fight in Cleveland aimed at thwarting Trump. Many RNC members may be shifting their thinking to accept the argument promoted by Trump that he has indeed won the most votes and the most delegates and thus deserves the nomination more than anyone else. And some RNCers appear to be moving to a new stage: wishful thinking. That is, they are wondering whether Trump might not be a lousy general election candidate or a burden to the party.

Other RNC members are still hoping Trump will be defeated—even if the window for the #NeverTrump forces is closing. The next contest is in Indiana on May 3, where Trump will attempt to dispense with Cruz as the Texas senator tries to stage a comeback and keep alive his hope for snagging the nomination at the convention. Trump is “clearly the front-runner,” says Henry Barbour, an RNC member from Mississippi, “but it’s not inevitable.” Yet for some of his fellow RNCers, now is the time to submit to the Trump reality. 

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate